The polling data on immigration is perhaps more nuanced than many think

December 21st, 2014

YouGov on views of who should be allowed in


BES study shows that voters in LD seats have far more trust in their MPs than those in LAB or CON constituencies

December 21st, 2014

A bit of Xmas cheer for the LDs

Earlier in the month a big divide appeared between the huge joint university initiative, the British Election Study, and Lord Ashcroft’s polling of individual CON facing LD held seats. The former pointed to disaster while aggregate data from latter’s latest batch found that the yellows were 9% ahead.

    The reason, of course, is that you get very different responses in these seats when you ask voters, as Lord A does, to think specifically about the candidates who will stand locally and the generic national voting questions.

This was very much reinforced by the above BES data from Nottingham’s Prof Phil Cowley, on the differing responses when you ask whether people trust their own MPs. The actual question was how much trust responders had in MPs ‘in general’ and how much they have in the MP ‘in your local constituency’. The response were on a seven point scale, from 1 (no trust) to 7 (a lot of trust).

The chart shows views of those in LAB/CON and LD-held seats and highlights the split between those who say they will vote for their incumbent (supporters) and those who won’t (opponents).

As can be seen there was a markedly different response pattern from those in CON and LAB held seats and those in LD ones. Even opponents in the latter had a net negative of just 4.4%.

Another interesting finding was whether voters knew the name of their MP. Of those with Labour MPs, under 70% knew his/her while for Tories, the figure was just over 70%. But of those with LD MPs, the name recognition level was 82%.

The Lib Dems look set to lose a lot of MPs on May 7th but not on the scale that poll ratings of 6% suggest.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble



First poll of the weekend from Opinium sees LAB lead move to 7%

December 20th, 2014

Collage-DC-EM-NC-NF (1)

LAB lead now 7% with Opinium

YouGov has LAB 2% ahead with, as per usual, CON in the 30s

We are almost there – the final polls of the 2014. Generally there’s a complete break over the holiday period and the polling schedule returns to normal in the New Year.

Tonight I’m only aware of Opinium for the Observer and the usual YouGov for the Sunday Times. I’ve heard some rumours about one set of data but I’m not reporting anything till things are published.

This post will be updated as the numbers come in.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


It could be that telling the pollster that you’ll vote GREEN is a polite way of saying don’t know

December 20th, 2014

Look at the very high proportion of non-voters

With Green growth being the polling story of the week I thought the time was right to look at where expressions of support for the party are coming from.

The chart above shows the breakdown from the last batch of Lord Ashcroft’s marginals polling where there’s a big enough sample to look at subsets.

For me the striking feature is the large number who did not vote for any of the main three parties at the last election.

I remain of the view that lack of a past voting history is not a good indicator that people will turnout at the General Election.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Local By-Election Results : December 18th 2014

December 19th, 2014

St. James on Kingston upon Thames (Con defence)
Result: Conservative 1,123 (43%), Liberal Democrat 865 (33%), Labour 355 (14%), UKIP 206 (8%), Green 71 (3%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 258 (10%)

Ollerton on Nottinghamshire (Lab defence)
Result: Labour 1,171 (56% -2%), Conservative 533 (26% +4%), UKIP 347 (17% -3%), Liberal Democrat 24 (1%, no candidate last time)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 638 (31%) on a swing of 3% from Labour to Conservative


New polling suggests that voters are becoming more comfortable with multi party government

December 19th, 2014

Warnings about the dangers of hung parliaments might have less resonance

One of the reasons why the LDs went into coalition in 2010 because they wanted to show that multi-party governments were possible. This followed an intensive end to the GE10 campaign when much of the Tory focus was designed increase worries and about what having an inconclusive outcome might mean.

Well four and a half years in the coalition has survived and there appears to be not too much appetite for single party government judging by the record polling lows for the aggregate CON+LAB share, now down to about 60% with the phone pollsters.

This is reinforced this morning by polling that suggests that voters prefer a multi-party political system, and not one dominated by the traditional big two parties. It was carried out by ComRes for the Electoral Reform Society.

The survey, which covered the 40 most marginal Conservative-Labour constituencies (ie. the areas where the traditional two-party battle ought to be fiercest) found that:

  • 67% believe the rise of smaller parties such as UKIP and the Greens is good for democracy (against just 16% who support the opposite)
  • 51% believe it is better to have several smaller parties than two big parties (against 27% who oppose)
  • 50% believe the era of two parties dominating British politics is over (against 32% who oppose)
  • The same poll showed that people are comfortable with the implications of a multi-party system, and prefer parties to work together in the common interest rather than continually attack each other:

  • 78% believe the Opposition should work with the government on issues they agree on
  • 54% believe Parliament works best when no party is too dominant so that cross-party agreement is needed to pass laws
  • Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    After the most intensive polling week of the year the one thing that we haven’t got is clarity

    December 19th, 2014

    Following poor results for LAB from Ipsos-MORI & Lord Ashcroft YouGov ends the week with the party 5% ahead

    Four and a half months from the big day

    The week before Christmas is always an intensive one for polling as the monthly surveys all get concentrated into a few days. This has been added to this year by latest batch of marginals single seat surveys from Lord Ashcroft.

    The big picture would not have been hard to deduce if it had not been for yesterday’s Ipsos-MORI CON 3% lead and the smaller swings to LAB coming from Lord Ashcroft. EdM could be feeling quite pleased.

      As it is we have a very mixed picture of polling snapshots with something for everyone provided they turn a blind eye to numbers they don’t like

    The LDs are in a range of 6% from YouGov to 14% from ICM. The Greens saw 9% from Ipsos-MORI to 2% from ComRes online while LAB shares ranged from 29% with Ipsos-MORI to 35% in the latest YouGov.

    We haven’t even got a methodology divide with the phone pollsters pointing one way and online another.

    Still to come, and perhaps most important of all, is a Scottish poll. The monthly survey by Survation for the Daily Record is due and could tell us whether Scotland’s new LAB leader is going to help in coming months.

    If pressed I’d probably say I still think LAB most seats but with a real possibility of the Tories coming top in national vote share.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Local By-Election Preview : December 18th 2014

    December 18th, 2014

    St. James on Kingston upon Thames (Con defence)

    Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 28, Liberal Democrats 18, Labour 2 (Conservative majority of 8)
    Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected
    Conservatives 1,250, 1,188, 1,082
    Liberal Democrats 729, 719, 696
    Labour 598, 494, 485
    United Kingdom Independence Party 386, 361
    Green 212
    British National Party 100
    Trade Unionist and Socialist 34

    Candidates duly nominated: Jack CHEETHAM (Con), Stephen DUNKLING (Lab), Alex NELSON (Green), Ben ROBERTS (UKIP), Annette WOOKEY (Lib Dem)

    This year marked the 50th anniversary of Kingston (and all the other London boroughs) following the re-organisation of local government in the capital and as a result have become the longest lasting councils in the whole of the UK (having not been touched by the hand of various secretaries of state creating unitary authorities). Back in those first elections in 1964, the Conservatives won control of the council with a majority of 20 but it was not over the Liberals, it was over Labour as back in the mid 60′s the idea of the Liberals winning a seat on the council, let alone controlling the council, was just a mere pipe dream.

    It was not until 1974 that the first Liberals were elected, but just four years later they had been defeated and when they came back in 1982 the Conservatives were still solidly in charge. However that all changed in 1986 when the Alliance came within 2% of winning the popular vote and within two of becoming the largest party as they forced the council into a state of No Overall Control for the first time in the council’s history and it stayed that way until 1994 when on a wave of anti Conservative support the Liberal Democrats polled 42% of the vote and won control of the council which lasted for a whole four years before the Conservatives topped the poll by two and forced the council back into NOC, only for the Lib Dems to win it back in 2002 and then hold it in 2006 and 2010 before finally losing control back to the Conservatives this year so will this been seen as a referendum on the first six months of Conservative control of Kingston since 1982 or will UKIP use it to prove that in Liberal Democrat / Conservative battlegrounds such as the Kingston and Surbiton constituency the ward lies in, UKIP will decide who wins.

    Ollerton on Nottinghamshire (Lab defence)

    Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 34, Conservatives 21, Liberal Democrats 8, Mansfield Independents 2, Independents 2 (Labour majority of 1)
    Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 1,603 (58%), Conservative 594 (22%), United Kingdom Independence Party 549 (20%)
    Candidates duly nominated: Ben BRADLEY (Con), Colin HART (UKIP), Michael PRINGLE (Lab), Marylyn RAYNER (Lib Dem)

    Nottinghamshire has for decades symbolised the dominance of Labour, you only have to look at some of the MP’s elected from the county to get an idea of this (Geoff Hoon from Ashfield, Paddy Tipping from Sherwood, John Mann in Bassetlaw, Vernon Coaker from Gedling) so it gives you an idea of the disaster that befell Labour in 2009 when, for the first time in it’s history, Nottinghamshire county went Conservative.

    The Conservatives polled in that election 39% of the vote (+6% on 2005), Labour polled a miserly 25% (-10%), with all the other parties picking up the remainder and that 8% swing from Lab to Con saw the Conservatives pick up 10 seats and Labour lose 25 seats with the Liberal Democrats doubling their number of seats matching the Independents and allowing UKIP to win a seat.

    So you can imagine what a huge relief it was to Ed Milliband that Nottingham was a Labour gain in 2013, and whilst there was a swing of 12% from Con to Lab the fact that UKIP gained some 16% as well gave everyone cause for concern so the question has to be can UKIP top off what has been an amazing year by winning another local by-election from Labour in a part of the world where (if the Euros were any indication) UKIP rule the roost.

    Harry Hayfield

    The by-elections tonight will be the last of 2014, but that does not mean I can now pack up shop until the New Year, on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I shall be reviewing the year in local by-elections and producing a Westminster forecast based on this year’s local by-elections